Archive for the ‘Scripture’ Category

December 19th, 2015

Declare the Whole Counsel of God

“…for I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God.” Acts 20:27 (ESV)

The Ephesian Church was in danger. Paul speaks to the elders of the church and suggests to them that when he leaves, wolves will enter and try to devour the church. Paul’s concern, though, is limited, knowing that he has done all he can to prepare them by preaching to them the full counsel of God’s word. He did not choose to leave portions out, thinking that they would be too hard for them to digest or handle. No, he boldly proclaimed all of Scripture, knowing that even the hard truths were necessary for this church’s success.

In America today, we face similar dangers as that of the Ephesian Church, yet many of our leaders have shied away from preaching the full counsel of God, choosing instead to focus on the more acceptable aspects of Scripture. The problem, though, that arises when you only teach a partial gospel is that when difficult times come or false teaching is presented, the people do not know how to respond and are likely either defeated or led astray. Certainly no pastor intends for this to happen, but when parts of God’s Word and, thus, His character are ignored, the Church is ill-prepared to accomplish the purpose God has set before it.

My friends, may we commit to be a people who teach the full counsel of God. May we not shy away from topics such as God’s wrath and His coming judgment even as we proclaim His sacrificial love. May we teach people how to be better citizens or our planet, yes, but may we be more concerned with teaching them how to embody the fullness of Christ and the sacrifice such embodiment demands. God revealed Himself fully in His Word; who are we to question which aspects of Him are acceptable and which are not?

Grace and peace,

Jared Richard
Mobilization Pastor (Online Devotional Guest Author)
Follow me on twitter at: http://twitter.com/jaredrichard

 

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Saturday, December 19th, 2015 at 1:00 am
Category Acts, God's Word, Scripture.
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October 9th, 2015

Grow as Christ Grew

“And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man.” Luke 2:52 (ESV)

Be careful not to be misled, dear friend, by what you read in today’s verse. The critic of Christianity may ask what need has God of increase, for isn’t God infinitely what He is? The answer, of course, is a resounding yes, but couched within that answer is the caveat of the incarnation, when God the Son took on flesh and dwelt among us. In His time of residence upon this earth, the Christ patterned for us what it means to live as God’s representatives upon the earth, giving the truth of God flesh so that its impact may be personified.

The God-man, Jesus, in His humanity grew. Some of the growth described was of course natural, i.e. in His stature. The other growth described, however, that of wisdom and favor, was not natural but rather the effect of abiding in the presence of God. Jesus sought out truth and engaged that truth, displaying the fruit of the Spirit and a special anointing from God’s hand that gave Him favor with man. He grew as we must grow, not simply in the natural way but also in the spiritual way as His legacy.

Can you say that you have grown in more ways than simply in stature? Have you engaged the truth of God’s word so that it enhances your wisdom? Have you employed that wisdom for the glory of God, evidencing proclaimed favor while gaining favor with man? Seek today to do what Jesus did. Go to the Father’s house, study the truth of scripture, and be about your Father’s business. Grow as Christ grew so that you can accomplish what He desires you to accomplish.

Grace and peace,

Jared Richard
Mobilization Pastor (Online Devotional Guest Author)
Follow me on twitter at: http://twitter.com/jaredrichard

 

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Friday, October 9th, 2015 at 1:00 am
Category Luke, Scripture, Spiritual Growth.
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October 2nd, 2015

Study the Law of the Lord

“For Ezra had set his heart to study the Law of the LORD, and to do it and to teach his statutes and rules in Israel.” Ezra 7:10 (ESV)

The narrative of Ezra jumps 57 years between chapters 6 and 7, introducing now the titular character of Ezra. The hand of the Lord is obviously upon him, as he approaches the King of Persia, Artaxerxes, and receives permission to return to Jerusalem and once again instruct the people of God in how to live according to the Law. Notice in our verse for today, though, that his motivation in doing this was not power nor prestige but rather a love for the Law and for the Lord. The Lord raises him up and puts His hand upon Him to once again provide a mediator between He and His people, and this mediator will not lead others astray as so many other leaders have done because of His passion for the Law of the Lord.

If you and I are to lead the people God has placed in our lives to a deeper understanding of what it means to walk in relationship with the Lord, then we must set our hearts to study the Law of the Lord, to practice it, and to teach it. Firstly, we must study the Word of God. Too many of us rely upon others to feed us instead of investing ourselves in concentrated meditation upon the riches of scripture. When we study, we grow in relationship and the Spirit cultivates our heart after Christ’s. Secondly, once we have studied, we must live out what we have studied. The Word of God is transformative, and how it transforms us displays its power and usefulness for when we proclaim it, which is our third responsibility. What we learn, we must entrust to others, who need to know what it means to walk worthy of the calling of God upon their lives.

Are you studying as Ezra did? Are you practicing? Are you teaching? Commit today to grow in one of these areas for your own good, the good of those around you, and, of course, for the glory of God!

Grace and peace,

Jared Richard
Mobilization Pastor (Online Devotional Guest Author)
Follow me on twitter at: http://twitter.com/jaredrichard

 

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Friday, October 2nd, 2015 at 1:00 am
Category Ezra, Scripture, Witness.
Interact No Comments
December 19th, 2012

We Must Declare the Whole Counsel of God.

“…for I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God.” Acts 20:27 (ESV)

The Ephesian Church was in danger. Paul speaks to the elders of the church and suggests to them that when he leaves, wolves will enter and try to devour the church. Paul’s concern, though, is limited, knowing that he has done all he can to prepare them by preaching to them the full counsel of God’s word. He did not choose to leave portions out, thinking that they would be too hard for them to digest or handle. No, he boldly proclaimed all of Scripture, knowing that even the hard truths were necessary for this church’s success.

In America today, we face similar dangers as that of the Ephesian Church, yet many of our leaders have shied away from preaching the full counsel of God, choosing instead to focus on the more acceptable aspects of Scripture. The problem, though, that arises when you only teach a partial gospel is that when difficult times come or false teaching is presented, the people do not know how to respond and are likely either defeated or led astray. Certainly no pastor intends for this to happen, but when parts of God’s Word and, thus, His character are ignored, the Church is ill-prepared to accomplish the purpose God has set before it.

My friends, may we commit to be a people who teach the full counsel of God. May we not shy away from topics such as God’s wrath and His coming judgment even as we proclaim His sacrificial love. May we teach people how to be better citizens or our planet, yes, but may we be more concerned with teaching them how to embody the fullness of Christ and the sacrifice such embodiment demands. God revealed Himself fully in His Word; who are we to question which aspects of Him are acceptable and which are not?

Chronological Bible Reading Plan: (Day 346:  Acts 20-23)

Grace and peace,

Jared Richard
Associate Pastor (Online Devotional Guest Author)
Follow me on twitter at: http://twitter.com/jaredrichard

 

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Wednesday, December 19th, 2012 at 1:00 am
Category Acts, God's Word, Scripture.
Interact No Comments
October 9th, 2012

Grow as Christ Grew.

“And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man.” Luke 2:52 (ESV)

Be careful not to be misled, dear friend, by what you read in today’s verse. The critic of Christianity may ask what need has God of increase, for isn’t God infinitely what He is? The answer, of course, is a resounding yes, but couched within that answer is the caveat of the incarnation, when God the Son took on flesh and dwelt among us. In His time of residence upon this earth, the Christ patterned for us what it means to live as God’s representatives upon the earth, giving the truth of God flesh so that its impact may be personified.

The God-man, Jesus, in His humanity grew. Some of the growth described was of course natural, i.e. in His stature. The other growth described, however, that of wisdom and favor, was not natural but rather the effect of abiding in the presence of God. Jesus sought out truth and engaged that truth, displaying the fruit of the Spirit and a special anointing from God’s hand that gave Him favor with man. He grew as we must grow, not simply in the natural way but also in the spiritual way as His legacy.

Can you say that you have grown in more ways than simply in stature? Have you engaged the truth of God’s word so that it enhances your wisdom? Have you employed that wisdom for the glory of God, evidencing proclaimed favor while gaining favor with man? Seek today to do what Jesus did. Go to the Father’s house, study the truth of scripture, and be about your Father’s business. Grow as Christ grew so that you can accomplish what He desires you to accomplish.

Chronological Bible Reading Plan: (Day 275:  Matthew 1; Luke 2)

Grace and peace,

Jared Richard
Associate Pastor (Online Devotional Guest Author)
Follow me on twitter at: http://twitter.com/jaredrichard

 

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Tuesday, October 9th, 2012 at 1:00 am
Category Luke, Scripture, Spiritual Growth.
Interact No Comments
October 2nd, 2012

He Set His Heart to Study the Law of the Lord!

“For Ezra had set his heart to study the Law of the LORD, and to do it and to teach his statutes and rules in Israel.” Ezra 7:10 (ESV)

The narrative of Ezra jumps 57 years between chapters 6 and 7, introducing now the titular character of Ezra. The hand of the Lord is obviously upon him, as he approaches the King of Persia, Artaxerxes, and receives permission to return to Jerusalem and once again instruct the people of God in how to live according to the Law. Notice in our verse for today, though, that his motivation in doing this was not power nor prestige but rather a love for the Law and for the Lord. The Lord raises him up and puts His hand upon Him to once again provide a mediator between He and His people, and this mediator will not lead others astray as so many other leaders have done because of His passion for the Law of the Lord.

If you and I are to lead the people God has placed in our lives to a deeper understanding of what it means to walk in relationship with the Lord, then we must set our hearts to study the Law of the Lord, to practice it, and to teach it. Firstly, we must study the Word of God. Too many of us rely upon others to feed us instead of investing ourselves in concentrated meditation upon the riches of scripture. When we study, we grow in relationship and the Spirit cultivates our heart after Christ’s. Secondly, once we have studied, we must live out what we have studied. The Word of God is transformative, and how it transforms us displays its power and usefulness for when we proclaim it, which is our third responsibility. What we learn, we must entrust to others, who need to know what it means to walk worthy of the calling of God upon their lives.

Are you studying as Ezra did? Are you practicing? Are you teaching? Commit today to grow in one of these areas for your own good, the good of those around you, and, of course, for the glory of God!

Chronological Bible Reading Plan: (Day 268:  Ezra 7-10)

Grace and peace,

Jared Richard
Associate Pastor (Online Devotional Guest Author)
Follow me on twitter at: http://twitter.com/jaredrichard

 

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Tuesday, October 2nd, 2012 at 1:00 am
Category Ezra, Scripture, Witness.
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February 25th, 2008

Bridger Generation (7)

“I have been reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also.” 2 Tim 1:5 (NIV)

Today is my dad’s birthday. He is now on the spiritual path to finish well. However, when I was a child, my dad became an alcoholic which led to my parents’ divorce and ultimately to his imprisonment. As a result, my dad was not an integral part of my upbringing. When I look over my childhood, the one constant in my life was church. My mother and my mamaw made certain that I went to church with them each Sunday morning, Sunday evening, and Wednesday night. My mother played the piano and my mamaw played the organ.

God used that consistency in my life to allow me to be under the influence of the gospel each week in Sunday School, in worship, and in my church’s basketball league. God brought godly men into my life at church that would take me fishing, camping, and hunting. I watched those men closely to see how they treated their wives and their children. On March 28, 1979, I gave my heart to the Father who would never let me down. Jesus became the Lord of my life and He also became my Heavenly Daddy!

Paul identified the sincere faith that Timothy’s mother and grandmother exhibited before him consistently. Timothy became a follower of Christ and devoted his life to teaching and preaching God’s Word. I love how Paul affirms the sincere faith that first lived in Timothy’s grandmother and mother.

Are you handing down the faith? Is your faith sincere? Will the next generation be able to look at your life and see the reality of Jesus and His Lordship? 

Pursuing God,

Stephen Trammell
Executive Pastor

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Monday, February 25th, 2008 at 1:00 am
Category Bridger Generation, Influence, Legacy, Scripture.
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